Health and safety consultation process

This procedure sets out how consultation will take place on new health and safety policies and standards that apply across the University. The purpose is to ensure:

  • compliance with legal requirement to consult staff or their representatives on matters that affect their health and safety
  • that those affected have the opportunity to input into its development, thereby helping to ensure suitable, practical standards are produced



Sets out the University’s direction, responsibilities for action and arrangements for implementation. The Health and Safety Policy includes a statement reflecting the University’s ethos, objectives and the overarching health and safety responsibilities which apply to all health and safety standards.


These are the University’s arrangements for implementing the Health and Safety Policy and meeting legal requirements. They describe what action needs to be taken and by whom. There are various types of standard.

Codes of practice / Management policies and plans detail the University’s arrangements for ensuring compliance with the law and gives details of what line managers, heads of departments and others need to do to meet their health and safety responsibilities as laid down in the University’s Health and Safety Policy. Generally these are produced for more complex risk areas, where detailed responsibilities and requirements are necessary. They are mandatory.

Local rules are produced where specific legislation requires (eg. ionising radiation regulations). They should normally be local to the area where the activity presenting the risk takes place.

Generic risk assessments describe what must be in place to achieve a safe workplace and meet University/legal requirements in a risk assessment format. The standards within them are mandatory, though there is flexibility to suit local needs. Managers can produce their own assessments (to a similar standard) rather than use the generic ones.

Guidance is short web-based information which describes how to meet responsibilities in relation to specific subjects. There will be a mixture of mandatory requirements and good practice, which will be clear from the language used.


The consultation process flow chart (.pdf) outlines the consultation process. The aim is to have a system that allows for adequate consultation, but is also flexible, thereby enabling new and revised standards to be published more quickly.

Normally, the Health and Safety Advisory Service (HSAS) will lead the development of University wide health and safety standards to meet legal requirements for health, safety, occupational health and fire safety.

The exception is the development of premises related health and safety standards, which will be led by Estate Management Section, in consultation with HSAS. Some occupational health related standards may also be led by the Director of Human Resources in consultation with HSAS.

The first draft of new or significantly revised standards should be accompanied by a brief outline for the reasons why the standard or proposed changes are needed.

The Unions will be consulted through those safety representatives who sit on Health and Safety Group.

Straightforward standards and revisions will be consulted on via consultation groups of key people identified as having a particular interest in the subject, either by email or meeting.

Standards or revisions to standards that will significantly impact on current practice must be approved by Health and Safety Group and USG.

The Health and Safety Policy and revisions to it must be approved by University Steering Group and Council.

In some cases it may be necessary to produce a standard at short notice, to respond to a particular issue. In such cases consultation periods and the extent of those included in consultation may be reduced. However the Unions will always be consulted. The standard will also be included on the Health and Safety Group meeting immediately following its publication.

Generally consultees will be given four weeks to consult on each draft, unless there is a good reason why a shorter timescale is justified.

Although the Head of Department may be copied into consultations, it is the Health and Safety Liaison Officer’s (HSLO) and Departmental Health and Safety Officer’s (DHSO) role to identify key consultees and communicate and co-ordinate consultations within their department.

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